Our Lower School students are natural explorers and build scientific knowledge with active, hands-on experiences. Our science curriculum is based around the student-centered, inquiry-based Full Option Science Program (FOSS) and is designed to help students develop sophisticated ways to consider core scientific ideas. Using FOSS, modules (units of study) are connected, building on each other within and across each strand, helping students to consider larger scientific ideas.
The components of the curriculum are integrated in a way designed to maximize every student’s learning opportunities. Each FOSS investigation uses the same model to offer multiple exposures to science concepts. The model utilizes four elements: active investigation, including outdoor experiences; recording in science notebooks to answer the focus question; reading in FOSS Science Resources; and assessment to monitor progress and motivate student reflection on their learning. Each year students gain deeper understanding of the scientific process by making observations, developing hypotheses, conducting experiments, and analyzing results.
In addition to FOSS, which includes a number of connections to engineering embedded within the program, we highlight creativity, critical thinking and problem solving through STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math)-based experiences that emphasize design thinking using real-world connections. Our ongoing partnership with the New York Hall of Science and programs such as the Engineering is Elementary curriculum from the Museum of Science in Boston inspire us to integrate ‘making’ within Science class and across disciplines. Using a variety of materials, students are thrilled to create, design and build as they find solutions to scientific and technological problems.
The annual Lower School-wide Science Fair allows students to demonstrate experiments and present science content knowledge and skills they have learned throughout their units of study. Field trips, guest speakers, neighborhood science walks, and community service projects continue to enrich our science program each year.